BW - EP75: We Are Echoes—The Birth Of Radio (1887 - 1912)


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In Breaking Walls Episode 75 we go back in time to the beginning of radio to tell the story of how this medium began. Highlights: * Why the Blizzard of 1888 played such an important role in the need for wireless telegraphy * Who Was Heinrich Hertz? What experiment made him the father of Hertzian Waves? * What Oliver Lodge, Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, and Amos DollBear have in common * Guglielmo Marconi, father of radio? * The benefits to wireless telegraphy * David Sarnoff — His start between 1900 - 1906 * Why the press want to get involved * Lee Deforest — Inventor, Fraud, or both? * What incredibly important event happened in December of 1901 in New Foundland * Why the American Government wanted to regulate wireless telegraphy * Reginald Fessenden, Christmas Eve, Oh Holy Night, and Brant Rock * The Titanic Disaster — How it changed wireless telegraphy forever * The Radio Box Memo * What’s next? The WallBreakers: To support the show: Background information: Prior to television, people tuned in to Radio to hear their favorite comedies, thrillers, westerns, high-adventure dramas, soap operas, kids shows, and melodramas, along with the talk, news, music, and sports that still dominate the airwaves. Radio Drama on the major networks of NBC, CBS, and ABC mostly went out after the growth of television in the 1950s and the story of this industry isn’t widely known to the general american public. Going forward, Breaking Walls will tell the story of this medium, which still influences our entertainment patters today. We’ll start at the beginning of radio and move through the rise of the networks, the growth of programming, how the great depression and world war II influenced the country, why radio declined during the growth of TV, what happened to its stars and the people who worked at the recording studios after radio drama went out in the late 1950s and early 1960s, why fans began collecting shows, how this helped save countless hours of broadcasts, and where we can go next. A tremendous thank you to today’s cast: Samantha De Gracia Olga Lysenko Justin Peele Nancy Pop Fernando Sanabria William Schallert & John Stephenson Today's Sponsor: The interview clips in today’s open: Chuck Schaden, who’s interviews can be found at and Dick Bertel and the late Ed Corcoran’s Golden Age of Radio program that ran on Hartford, CT’s WTIC in the 1970s, who’s interviews can be found at The reading material for today’s episode was: • Inventing American Broadcasting 1899-1922 by Susan J. Douglas • Empire of the Air by Tom Lewis • A Pictorial History of Radio’s First 75 Years by B. Eric Rhoads • Hello Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio by Anthony Rudel & • The Network by Scott Woolley • Todays’ introduction music of Clair de lune was arranged for harp and vibraphone by David DePeters and played by Elizabeth Hainen. You can pick up her album, Home: Works for Solo Harp on iTunes and Amazon, and listen on Spotify and Pandora. Her website is and she is on youtube @Elizabethhainenharp I’d also like to extend a tremendous thank you to Walden Hughes, and John and Larry Gassman, three old-time radio enthusiasts who host their own old-time radio program through the Yesterday USA Radio Network, which you can visit at They’ve put me in touch with many golden age enthusiasts, and given me access to a lot of reading and audio material. That thank you also extends to the late Les Tremayne and late Jack Brown for their wonderful 1986 documentary series, Please Stand By: A History of Radio. Subscribe to Breaking Walls everywhere you get your podcasts. A Special Thank you to: Rebecca Shield WallBreakers Links: Patreon - Social Media - @TheWallBreakers

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